White House Sources Tell Media Trump Considering Israel Visit in May

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing the Education Federalism Executive Order that will pull the federal government out of K-12 education, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on April 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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TEL AVIV — President Donald Trump is considering plans to visit Israel, sources in the White House told several Israeli media outlets on Wednesday.

“We are exploring the possibility of a future visit to Israel as well as other countries,” the official said.

The confirmation came following leaks by Israeli officials in the media about a potential visit, which would mark Trump’s first time in Israel.

Earlier in the day, Channel 2 reported that Trump is scheduled to visit Israel for one night on May 23, coinciding with Jerusalem Day which will mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem since the 1967 defensive war. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Army Radio that preparations were well underway for the visit.

“Since Trump entered the White House, we feel that we have a true friend there,” Hotovely said. “When he arrives, we will happily welcome him.”

There has been no word yet as to whether Trump will also visit the Palestinian Authority.

The Channel 2 report added that the White House will send an advance delegation to hold talks with the Foreign Ministry and prepare Trump’s itinerary.

This would mark the first time a U.S. president has visited Israel in the first few months in office. The visit also comes ahead of a June 1 expiration of a congressional mandate to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

According to The Jerusalem Post, a State Department spokesman declined to comment on whether Trump would renew the waiver come June, which has been extended each year since 1995.

No U.S. president has visited Israel in the first months of his term.